Washington State ISP Sues Over Spam

An ISP in the state of Washington is suing a mortgage company that it has accused of flooding it with misleading junk email in violation of a state law.

The $6 million lawsuit, filed in Skagit County Superior Court in Mount Vernon, is against CTX Mortgage, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Centex Corp., according to the Associated Press.

The law makes it illegal to send unsolicited commercial email with misleading subject lines, phony return addresses and false headers. A $1,000 penalty can be assessed for each illegal email sent through an Internet service provider.

Brady Johnson, Seattle attorney for Connect Northwest, the Mount Vernon-based company that filed the lawsuit, said CTX overwhelmed Connect Northwest’s network by sending 5,800 unsolicited email messages April 8 and 9 advertising home mortgages.

The subject line for the messages contained the phrase “a gift for you,” and the email’s return address was phony, Johnson said.

The flood of messages disrupted Connect Northwest’s mail servers and shut down service to customers for a time. In a statement, CTX said it was investigating the incident.

“What we have learned is that the emails in question represent an isolated incident involving an outside vendor,” the company said.

“CTX takes the anti-spamming laws seriously and immediately stopped the activity pending investigation of this matter,” the statement said.

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